City of Houston
At a Glance
Clean and Renewable Energy, Engagement and Behavior Change
Akash created a strategic plan for a benzene mobile monitoring program, which supports the Houston Health Department in meeting their C40 Cities Commitments.
Houston Health Department enlisted an EDF Climate Corps fellow to work towards a variety of goals. With the onset of COVID-19, HHD’s attention quickly fell on public outreach to vulnerable communities. Additionally, the health department sought to make progress on their Rapid Alert Benzene Information: Time Sensitive (RABITS) mobile monitoring program. Finally, Akash was asked to develop metrics tracking progress on Houston’s climate action plan.
Akash started his fellowship by collaborating with a team from the Houston Mayor’s Office of Resiliency to write an EPA Grant Application seeking funds for a COVID-19 awareness campaign. Their proposal employed arts and storytelling to improve health and safety outcomes in Houston’s highest-risk neighborhoods. Then, to help HHD establish a benzene mobile monitoring program, Akash began by mapping all the benzene point sources in Houston. Using wind direction data from stationary monitors, he was able to identify a subset of point sources that could be responsible for benzene emissions.
Akash’s benzene monitoring framework is a cornerstone of the Rapid Alert Benzene Information: Time Sensitive (RABITS) system. When complete, this system will hold organizations responsible for their fugitive emissions and create heightened public awareness of the risks of extended benzene exposure. His roadmap for tracking progress on Houston’s C40 Commitments will help public officials communicate health risks to vulnerable populations and has the potential to significantly reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and ambient ozone levels in Houston.